Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo

Portrait of Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo

Dr. Karen DeSalvo is a physician who has served as a leader through her 20-year career toward improving access to affordable, high quality care for all people with a focus on vulnerable populations through her direct care, medical education and administrative roles. Before coming to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, she was the New Orleans Health Commissioner and New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu’s Senior Health Policy Advisor.

Before joining the Mayor’s administration, Dr. DeSalvo was a professor of medicine and vice dean for community affairs and health policy at Tulane University School of Medicine.

Following Hurricane Katrina, she created an innovative model of neighborhood-based primary care and mental health services for low-income, uninsured and other vulnerable individuals, and was the founder and president of 504HealthNet, a consortium of safety net providers in the New Orleans region.

Dr. DeSalvo served as president of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum and the National Association of Chiefs of General Internal Medicine. She has served on the boards of the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Society of General Internal Medicine.

Dr. DeSalvo was recognized as one of “Women of Excellence in Health Care” by the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus and named a “Children’s Hero” by the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans and Family Service of New Orleans named her as one of their Ten Outstanding Persons. In 2013, Governing Magazine named Dr. DeSalvo one of nine Public Officials of the Year.

She earned her Medical Doctorate and Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University, and Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo's Latest Blog Posts

Connect for Care

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo | December 11, 2015

On Tuesday, I spoke at the Bipartisan Policy Center about our vision for the near future where electronic health information is unlocked and securely accessible to achieve better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.

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Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap – Version 1.0

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo | October 6, 2015

This is a unique time in health care. Scientific and technological advancements made by you, our partners across the health industry, have been rapidly transforming health and health care in the nation. More than 3 million individuals have accessed their electronic health information using ONC’s Blue Button tool. Today, over three-quarters of eligible providers and nine-in-ten eligible hospitals have received incentive payments for adopting and meaningfully using certified health IT compared with less than 15% before the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs started.

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Harnessing Consumer Engagement for Better Health, Better Care and Lower Cost

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo | October 1, 2015

Today, ONC joins hundreds of providers, consumers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and federal and private sector partners to celebrate advancements in consumer engagement through health IT at its premier consumer event: the Fifth Annual Consumer Health IT Summit (#consumersummit15). We have a lot of success to celebrate, a lot of exciting developments to share with one another, and yes, -a lot of work still to do.

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ONC Publishes Final Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo | September 21, 2015

Most people that use GPS navigation apps aren’t concerned with the backend development, the standards used, or whether the app is interoperable with other data sources – people just want to arrive at their destination quickly and safely. Similarly, when faced with critical health care choices, having the information and tools to help individuals, providers, and communities safely arrive at their health destinations should be as efficient and accessible as a GPS. Health information technology (IT) is the key to getting us where we want to go – allowing for seamless use of information and technology to overcome challenges and make decisions.

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$1 Billion Invested in Rural Health Care Across 13 States

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo | May 4, 2015

In late 2011, the President announced a White House Rural Council initiative lead by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest in rural health and link rural doctors and hospitals to financing for health IT. The initiative was designed to address the need for financing to support the adoption of health IT systems in rural communities.  Financing has been cited as one of the top challenges for rural doctors and hospitals serving remote and poor communities.

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